Thursday Night Football Preview – Week 14: Patriots at Rams

(6-6)New England Patriots vs. (8-4)Los Angeles Rams (-4.5, 44.5)

Breakdown: The Patriots ride a two-game win streak into Los Angeles as they take on the Rams in a rematch of Super Bowl LIII. This would be a more compelling matchup if Tom Brady and Todd Gurley II were still involved, but we still get a showdown between two of the most cerebral coaches in the league in Bill Belichick vs Sean McVay.

The Pats ran all over the Chargers defense and already picked up one win in LA

Things have changed a lot for New England with Cam Newton at the helm. Throwing the ball isn’t a feature of the New England offense anymore as the Pats have the 3rd worst passing attack in the NFL. They also boast the 3rd best run game which has been enough to keep them in the hunt with wins over other teams in the middle of the pack, but the Rams’ defense isn’t middle of the pack. Their defense is 3rd best against the run and 1st against the pass. If they slow the NE run game down even a little, the advantage slides heavily in their favor. 

The Rams defense has been a dominant group for much of the season

The Rams enter this game leading the NFC West and should have the edge playing at home in  SoFi Stadium where they are 4-1. The offense isn’t bad either as they’re 6th in passing and 9th in rushing. Belichick managed to shut down McVay’s offense in the Super Bowl and the Rams haven’t changed their approach much, if at all, over the past few seasons. However, New England’s defense is 13th against the pass and 18th against the rush. Looking at how the offenses and defenses match up, LA has the edge on both sides of the ball. 

Cam Akers has emerged as playmaker now that he’s fully healthy

As usual, everyone on the Pats is listed as questionable and the Rams’ injury report looks clean. New England is going to try and set the edge against the LA ground game as they did in the Super Bowl, but the Rams have a lot of quality and depth at running back thanks to Cam Akers getting healthy. If they manage to lock up the run game, Goff could find it tough to operate. Both teams seemingly have the same path to victory but I’ll take the better defense. 

Pick: Rams

ATS: Rams -4.5

Over/Under: Under 44.5

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